Syfy Analysis - Broadcasting & Cable

Syfy Analysis

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Syfy programs its line-up differently every night of the week, with no strips or similar fare to carry viewers across the week. The schedule is well-rounded – unlike other nets, Syfy does not rely too heavily upon a single program to boost the numbers. Syfy has the resources to use the volume approach to finding the next new hit, pushing a lot of programming through the line-up to see what sticks.

Most nights have seen dramatic change in the past year, but the schedule has begun to settle down. There is still room on the schedule for more original programming.

Mondays are now a marquee night, with original series headlining in all seasons. Tuesdays were the night under construction for the past year, and the night seems to have found its footing with paranormal and competition programming. On Wednesdays the once powerful GHOST HUNTERS franchise is fading and newer reality programs are moving in. WWE SMACKDOWN continues to revitalize Friday nights, bringing a lot of male viewers to the net and a solid male lead-in for original series at 10PM.

In addition to acquiring ready-made series, Syfy has been giving its own series quick renewal orders and short production cycles, allowing popular programs to make a quick return to the schedule. This helps keep viewers in the habit of tuning to Syfy.

SEPTEMBER PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Plus Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / September 2012 vs. September 2011  (% Change)

HH

M18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

 -28%

    -36%

   -31%

Tuesday 8-11pm

  -24%

    -31%

    -4%

Wednesday 8-11pm

   7%

   -17%

     11%

Thursday 8-11pm

  13%

     47%

    65%

Friday 8-11pm

    8%

      5%

     11%

Saturday 8-11pm

  19%

     3%

    26%

Sunday 8-11pm

  13%

    -8%

     5%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

  -4%

    -13%

     4%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

SEPTEMBER 2012: Syfy’s bottom line household and adult primetime audiences barely moved vs. last year, with household ratings off by just 4%, adult 18-49 ratings down 2% and adult 25-54 ratings up 4%. But there was a fundamental shift in audience. Last September Syfy’s total primetime audience was 57% male, and only one night – Wednesday, with its paranormal fare - skewed female. This September only Mondays and Fridays hold a significant male skew and the primetime audience is 51%. Compared to last month, male ratings dropped again while women grew about 10%.

Syfy has been pushing out a large volume of original programming this year, aggressively programming nearly every night of the week.

Monday nights got a big push, and were branded “Powerful Mondays” as they became host to signature original scripted dramas. The moniker does not truly apply this month as Monday’s primetime ratings fell below the bottom-line primetime average. WAREHOUSE 13, the program that launched the new Syfy, was the headliner. Unfortunately, it is not holding up, particularly with men. Average program rating vs. last September was down over 40% among men. Compared to last month’s performance it is down just 5% on households but 20% on both men and women demos. ALPHAS, the lower rated program, sandwiches WAREHOUSE at 8 and 10. The audience is more female than in the past, but both programs still pull more men than women.

Tuesdays have received the most attention this year, as the night has seen a parade of competition and reality programming testing out its time slots. Once the lowest rated night of the week (along with Thursdays), this month Tuesdays topped the network average on women and adults 18-49. FACE OFF can take most of the credit here. Also, new design competition program HOT SETS was a big improvement over COLLECTION INTERVENTION, and is a better fit content-wise with FACE OFF.

After a brief hiatus, GHOST HUNTERS is back on Wednesday nights. The break seems to have done the program some good, as core women 25-54 ratings grew by 29% vs. last year. Plus, it was a big improvement over last month’s HAUNTED COLLECTOR and SCHOOL SPIRITS.

Thursday is Syfy’s middle child, stuck in the middle of the week without receiving much attention. It was leftovers again this month as the night got a different block of repeat shows each week. And again it pulled the lowest numbers on the line-up. Maybe next year, Thursdays!!

Fridays continue to dominate the programming line-up with the towering ratings of WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN. Ratings for wrestling were up vs. last year and last month. LOST GIRL was the lucky recipient of the strong male lead-in at the beginning of the month, followed by HAVEN. LOST GIRL wasn’t able to capitalize on the advantage, but HAVEN is doing well in the time slot, taking the number two slot in the rankers right behind wrestling, and growing men 25-54 ratings by 18% vs. last year.

Movies were strong this month, particularly the Syfy Original Lake Placid: The Final Chapter. Sunday nights again featured blockbuster titles from the NBC Universal library, and again campy titles (Thir13teen Ghosts, The Mist) beat out revered series like Narnia, Predator and Pirates of the Caribbean.

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